Lamb Rib Chops with Hazelnut Mint Chimichurri

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We love local foods, and this recipe sings of spring in Oregon with lamb from Anderson Ranches in Brownsville, Jacobsen Salt Co. sea salt from the coast, Oregon Olive Mill extra virgin olive oil, Evonuk Farms hazelnuts, and Bee Local Willamette Valley honey, all served over fresh Northwest asparagus, leeks and herbs. Pair with an Oregon Pinot Noir for a deliciously local meal.

Serves: 4
Difficulty: moderate
Prep time: 20 min
Inactive time: 30+ min
Cook time: 20 min
Special tools: blender or food processor


Lamb Chops
2 T fresh mint leaves, rough chopped, packed
1/2 T fresh rosemary, rough chopped
2 T Oregon Olive Mill extra virgin olive oil
2 t Bee Local Willamette Valley honey *
1/2 lemon, juice and zest
1/4 t ea Jacobsen Salt Co. sea salt and pepper
8 lamb rib chops (or loin chops)

1 bunch asparagus, trimmed
1-2 leeks, trimmed and cleaned, chopped (white part only)
2 T Umpqua butter *
crushed hazelnuts, for garnish
capers, for garnish
mint leaves, for garnish
lemon zest, for garnish

Hazelnut Mint Chimichurri
1/4 c Evonuk Farms hazelnuts, toasted
3 T fresh mint leaves, rough chopped
1/4 c fresh parsley, rough chopped
1 T capers, drained
zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 clove garlic, crushed
pinch Jacobsen Salt Co. sea salt and pepper
1/3 c extra virgin olive oil


Lamb Chops
Combine herbs, oil, honey, lemon juice, salt and pepper well, coating lamb on all sides. Transfer to airtight container and chill at least 30 min up to overnight. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sear lamb chops briefly on both sides in hot, oven-proof skillet with a drizzle of olive oil; transfer to oven and finish cooking to 130 degrees internal temp for medium-rare, approximately 6-8 minutes. Remove from pan and wipe skillet with paper towel. Cook asparagus and leeks in butter in hot pan, sautéing until crisp-tender. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper and transfer to serving platter, arranging lamb on top. Garnish with crushed hazelnuts, capers, mint leaves and lemon zest. Serve with plenty of Hazelnut Mint Chimichurri (recipe follows).

Hazelnut Mint Chimichurri
Combine all ingredients, except oil, in blender and pulse briefly to combine. Scrape down sides and add olive oil in steady stream with machine running until a chunky salsa forms. Taste and adjust, as desired. Chimichurri can be made one day ahead and chilled in an airtight container. Bring to room temp when ready to serve.

* To make this recipe keto, omit honey. To make this recipe paleo, substitute butter for olive oil.